Dennis took Friday off and I don't work Fridays so we went for a drive to and a walk in West Seattle. I am really going to have to keep a camera in the car-There's always something I'd like to share with the people I know who never see Seattle the way we who live here every day see it (and then I want them to keep in mind just exactly how many days of cloudy weather we have).
Friday wasn't clear and sunny, there were spots of sunlight but it certainly wasn't warm. We walked around the Junction in West Seattle, stopped in at the record store, and just window shopped. Eventually headed down to Alki beach to walk and watch the sky.
I headed down to the waves to look for sea glass, listening to the burbling of the rocks as the wavelets run up and back, and Dennis walked along the prom and people watched. It was a great day to picnic because you could really get your pick of spots! Lots of tents and sweaters over shorts, bonfires lit, wind whipping sand through the flames, little dogs squinting and crouching as they walked into the wind.
We weren't dressed for rain, we had jackets and scarves but no hats, and we watched this huge rainstorm coming east toward us across the islands and the mountains and the Sound. Sheets of rain falling and then the clouds dissipating as they broke up once passing into the open area of the Sound, so, no rain on this side. Absolutely gorgeous skies. The sun slipped through and lit up the trees on the hillsides, a wet golden wash of color that reminded me of the colors I imagine you'd see in Italy along the sea.
I read a book called Lark, by Tracy Porter, this morning. Picked it up to add it to a pile and opened it, finished it still sitting on our uncomfortable kitchen chairs, elbows on my knees. A small thing, big content, pretty cover, ugly story. Kind of a cool way to trick someone into picking the book up, it wants to be held; it feels good, it fits in a hand just so. It's the story of Lark, a girl who was left to die, tied to a tree, and the story of her best friend and the little girl who sees her spirit.
It is an ugly story: Lark and her best friend have had a fight and haven't spoken for awhile when, on the way home from school, Lark gets into a car and gets killed. She is tied to a tree and left in the cold.
When she dies, her spirit tries to convince her friend and the girl to see her so she can move on. Neither of them understands and won't look at her so she can't leave this plane, and the other trees around her are whispering that she will be imprisoned forever, like them. The two girls finally meet at Lark's house when her mother invites everyone to come and choose something to remind them of her. When they meet, they realize there is something they have to do, as hard as it will be for them to do it.
It's a much better book than this review reveals. It's a tiny book, very short, but such a good book for girls, especially, to read. Lark dies because she is polite and gets into the car because the man has the perfect story to get her inside: His son's in the hospital and he doesn't know where it is. She is so reluctant, she says no, she knows there's something wrong with this, but what if he really does have a son who's in the hospital? What if she keeps him from finding the hospital and the son dies? She gets into the car.
That is the only decision she had to make, get in, stay out, and she made the wrong one. Would boys have gotten into the car? Would the driver have even stopped for a boy? Would a boy even worry about what the driver thought or about the son?
I know my brother didn't grow up worrying about someone's feelings if he said he wouldn't get in the car; I worried that if I didn't smile if someone whistled at me, they wouldn't like me. Now that I'm old, I still think that way. Not so much the whistling, not so much the liking, but the what ifs that come with telling someone no: what if he really is stranded? What if that child really is hurt? What if no one else helps?
I think we need to train our girls to be rude and powerful in themselves. Not physically strong, although that would be good, but able to know that it's okay to walk away, to not engage, to know that no one worth knowing will ever say it was wrong to leave a date, to fight back, to call for a ride home. It's better to be whole and uncomfortable, than dead because they were worried about hurting someone's feelings or want to have that boy still like them after.
I'm glad books like this are being written. It's a quick read, simply written, engaging, and gets to the point quickly- I'm sorry that they need to be written.